When Deontae and Deontre Wright receive diplomas at their high school’s commencement Wednesday afternoon, they’ll know who to thank for their motivation.
The identical twins, 17, are the top two students in their graduating class at Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio.
Deontae, with a grade-point average of 4.5, is the class valedictorian. Deontre, close on his heels with a 4.4 GPA, is the salutatorian.
It is an achievement the boys say they have dreamed of since they were in elementary school.
“We didn’t know what honor roll or the principal’s list was until the second grade,” Deontre says. “Then we wanted to be on it all the time.”
Both brothers credit their success to countless hours of studying – and a friendly rivalry.
“Our biggest thing is competing against each other,” Deontre says. “We ended up having a competition all throughout high school to see who would do better.”
Like most identical twins, the pair have similar tastes. They like the same music (rap) and the same food (pizza and chicken alfredo).
Both brothers are incredibly busy
Both are super driven and relentlessly positive. But their personalities are different.
“Deontre is more goofy and I’m more serious,” says Deontae, who is older than his brother by 20 minutes. That key distinction helps teachers and classmates tell them apart.
“Yes, after a certain amount of time they can tell the difference, based on personalities.” Deontae says.
When they’re not studying, Deontae and Deontre somehow find time to serve as officers in student government, work two part-time jobs and volunteer with a teen outreach program in their community.
“They are so busy, I have to send a text every day to know where they are,” says their mother, Victoria Lampkin.
She describes her sons as “always focused” and attributes their academic success to her and their father’s parenting style. They give the twins the autonomy to make their own decisions – something Lampkin says she did not have growing up.
“I didn’t tell them to not do anything. It was up to them, because this is their life,” she says. “That’s another reason they got this far.”
Both brothers will speak at their commencement ceremony. Deontae says he will focus mostly on the “future and moving on,” while Deontre will speak about how “it’s not about where you start, but how you finish.”
The Wright twins won’t soon be forgotten at their high school in Toledo, which dates back more than a century.
“They are magnificent young men,” says Scott High School Principal Dr. Carnel Smith. “The school has a great deal of tradition and pride and everyone is proud of them. They are the epitome of what a Scott Bulldog is.”
They’re already thinking of their plans after college
Both Deontae and Deontre have received full electrical engineering scholarships to Ohio State University in Columbus, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive south of their hometown.
“It’s close to home, but not too close,” Deontre says.
The brothers have decided they won’t be roommates at Ohio State to help them find their own niche in college.
But if all goes according to plan, they won’t be gone for long. The Wright twins hope to return to Toledo after college to start their own engineering firm and help revitalize the city.
“There are a lot of abandoned homes in the area,” Deontae says. “We will renovate the area and help train local students who are interested in learning as much as possible.”
Deontre also hopes to earn a PhD after college. “I look forward to being called Dr. Wright,” he says.
Deontae has words of encouragement for other young people who are working towards their dreams.
“Giving up is not an option,” he says. “If you give up, you’ll never reach your goal. You might be exhausted, but at the end of the day, it will be a great outcome.”